Philadelphia prep star Rasheed Wallace retires from NBA

Rasheed Wallace was with Detroit when he first retired in 2010. A foot injury forced him to leave the Knicks.
Rasheed Wallace was with Detroit when he first retired in 2010. A foot injury forced him to leave the Knicks. (AP)
Posted: April 19, 2013

Rasheed Wallace, who was known on the national level since his freshman basketball season at Philadelphia's Simon Gratz High, has retired for the second time in his NBA career.

Slow to recover from a broken left foot, Wallace, 38, retired Wednesday from the New York Knicks.

Wallace first retired after the 2010 NBA Finals following his appearance with the Boston Celtics, who lost in seven games to the Los Angeles Lakers.

He returned to the NBA this season and appeared in 21 games for the Knicks. Wallace fractured the fifth metatarsal in his foot and underwent surgery on Feb. 28. He returned to action Monday but played just 3 minutes, 50 seconds in a loss to Charlotte.

"Due to his injury, he will not be able to play for us during the playoffs," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said in a statement. "We owe this season's success to veterans like Rasheed."

Wallace was not available to comment.

As a senior at Simon Gratz in 1993, Wallace led the Bulldogs to a 31-0 record and the nation's No. 1 ranking by USA Today. He averaged a little less than 15 points per game, but he was a two-time Inquirer Southeastern Pennsylvania player of the year and was USA Today's national player of the year as a senior.

"Along with Gene Banks, Rasheed is one of the two best high school players to come out of Philadelphia since Wilt Chamberlain," said Norm Eavenson, a longtime recruiting expert who works for All-Star Sports, a national publication.

Wallace led Gratz to three Philadelphia Public League titles in his four varsity seasons.

He finished his 16-year NBA career with averages of 14.4 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocked shots. The 6-foot-11, 245-pounder was a four-time all-star and the final piece of Detroit's 2004 NBA championship team after being traded to the Pistons in February of that year.

He played on 15 teams that qualified for the postseason, missing only in his rookie year with Washington in 1995-96.

The Bullets made Wallace the No. 4 overall pick in the 1995 draft after he played two seasons at the University of North Carolina.

John Nash, Washington's general manager at the time, thought that Wallace made his mark on the defensive end.

"He loved the challenge and did a marvelous job of guarding the opponent's offensive power forward," Nash said.

Wallace was known for his tremendous versatility. He could hurt teams by hitting a turnaround jumper in the post but also wasn't afraid to shoot three-pointers. He made 1,086 threes and shot 33.6 percent from beyond the arc in his career.

"As good as he was, I think he could have been better," Nash said. "I think winning was important to him and team play was important to him, but I don't know if individual success was as important, and I don't know if he pushed himself as hard as he could have."

Wallace also was known for his short fuse. In 2000-01 with Portland, he set a single-season NBA record with 41 technical fouls.

Despite his volatile personality, he was respected throughout the NBA.

"Rasheed has given this team everything he had," Woodson said. "He is a winner, true professional and leader on and off the court."


Wallace File

Here is a look at Rasheed Wallace's basketball career:

High School

As a senior at Simon Gratz in 1993, Wallace led the Bulldogs to a 31-0 record and the nation's No. 1 ranking by USA Today. He was a two-time Inquirer Southeastern Pennsylvania player of the year, and as a senior was named USA Today's national player of the year. He was a first-team all-American pick by Basketball Times as a senior and a two-time Parade all-American first-teamer, averaging a little less than 15 points, 15 rebounds, and seven blocked shots per game.

College

At North Carolina, Wallace was an Associated Press second-team all-American as a sophomore. He helped the Tar Heels reach the Final Four in 1995, then entered the 1995 NBA draft.

NBA

Wallace was taken fourth overall by the Washington Bullets. The four-time all-star played 16 seasons, with stints in Washington, Portland, Atlanta, Detroit, Boston, and New York. He averaged 14.4 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocked shots per game.


Contact Marc Narducci at mnarducci@phillynews.com. Follow @sjnard on Twitter.

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